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Page 253.

The following information was researched and graciously provided by the Canton Borough Secretary, Mary Graham, in April, 1985.

Canton Borough Mayors or Burgesses 1864-Present
1864 John S. Mix
1865 John VanDyke
1866 Charles Stockwell
1867 J. O. Randall
1868 C. Stockwell
1870 M. Porter
1871 H. D. Williams
1872 E. L. Manley
1873 H. B. Parsons
1874 Theodore Pierce
1875 S. W. Owen
1876 H. D. Williams
1877 B. W. Clark
1878 J. H. Shaw
1879 J. H. Shaw
1880-1881 G. H. Estell
1882 H. B. Parsons
1883-1885 E. A. Jennings
1886-1887 W. C. Griffen
1888-1890 J. W. Parsons
1891 C. A. Innes
1892 J. W. Parsons
1893-1896 Newton Landon
1897-1899 G. F. Krise
1900-1902 John A. Innes
1903-1905 G. F. Krise
1906-1908 M. Landon
1909-1914 J. F. Clark
1915-1921 Frank S. Stull
1922-1925 S. H. Jewell
1926-1928 Elwin Allen
1929 O. M. Ayres
1930-1937 G. F. Krise
1938-1941 H. W. McNett
1942 E. J. Preston
1942-1943 James H. Taylor
1944-1947 L. A. Guiles
1948-1949 Hiram G. Wood
1950-1953 Ottis Williams
1954-1957 Donald Gardner
  Prior to 1958 Mayor was called "Burgess"
1958-1973 Donald Thomas
1974-1977 Charles Krise
1978-1985 James C. Arnold

On the back cover of the Newsletter are the following buildings; starting from the corner:

Manley Bldg. (later Hendelman Bldg.) about 1906

Mrs. L. Patterson Millinery – 1st floor

Milt Trout Novelty Store – 1st floor

3rd Floor – Town Hall & Opera House

Next Bldg. – Daisy Channel Millinery

Next Bldg. – Mert Barrow Novelties

Packard Hotel

Page 254

Canton Borough Council Presidents and Dates of Election to Office

Although Borough was incorporated in 1854, it was the custom for the Burgess to preside at meetings of the Council, and the only officers elected from the Council were a Secretary and a Treasurer.

The first president was not elected until 1894.
1 H. K. Taylor March 5, 1894
2 H. E. Griffin March 2, 1896
*3 H. H. Taylor March 1, 1897
4 G. M. Coons March 5, 1900
5 Hugh Crawford March 3, 1902
6 W. H. Collins March 7, 1904
7 S. H. Jewell March 5, 1906
8 P. J. Ronan March 3, 1908
9 Homer Rockwell March 1, 1909
10 H. E. Griffin March 7, 1910
11 R. G. Brown March 6, 1911
12 James H. Brann January 5, 1914
13 Newton Landon December 28, 1914
14 Alden Swayze January 3, 1916
15 James H. McKay December 22, 1916
16 E. K. Innes January 5, 1920
17 H. L. Rockwell January 2, 1922
18 L. F. Root January 14, 1924
19 Bly Biddle January 4, 1926
20 W. S. Fox January 2, 1928
21 F. H. Trippe January 6, 1932
*22 James H. Brann January 8, 1934
23 D. G. Tripp March 7, 1934
+24 George H. Doll January 3, 1938
25 B. W. Loyd Sept. 22, 1949
26 Rozell Porter January 4, 1950

* Second Terms

+ Only President to be elected to six consecutive terms – died in office Sept. 19, 1949.

Page 255.
Fire Department Serving Area Since 1882
Eleanor PARSONS. Keagle

Prior to the organization of the Canton Volunteer Fire Department in January 1882, the fire fighting methods of our borough were rather crude.  The equipment consisted of sixteen-quart pails, each family in the village owning one or more.  When an alarm of “Fire” was given, every able bodied man snatched his pail and ran with it to the fire, those living nearby filling their pails at their own wells, the others getting water nearer the scene of the disaster.  The men immediately formed a bucket brigade, one end of which was at the nearest water supply and the other at the burning building.  The full pails were passed rapidly from man to man and the empty ones rushed back to be refilled.  This system had two drawbacks.  It was effective only on fires that had been detected soon after their origin and was very hard on the householder’s sixteen-quart pails.

Not long before the incorporation of the Canton Independent Fire Company, and Independent Hook and Ladder Company was formed, their entire equipment consisted of two dozen rubber buckets which were carried on poles when used, and stored in Hehl’s barber shop between times.  Much of Mr. Hehl’s boyhood had been spent near a city fire-house, so he was a great help to the embryo firemen.

Their first fire was Frank Mayo’s barn, a very fine structure across the road from his home on upper Troy Street.  It was surrounded by a white picket fence.  The two dozen buckets were of little use against the main fire and the barn was destroyed but the boys managed to save the picket fence.  In grateful recognition of this feat, the Mayo’s and Davenports staged a show, the proceeds of which, amounting to $300.00 were used to purchase the first hook and ladder cart and a quantity of hose.

The formation of a fire department and its incorporation in May, 1882, was a welcome addition to our growing town, especially as the water mains had been extended to the principal streets, thus making it possible to use the 100 feet of hose which had been purchased.

The Canton Independent Fire company elected Charles Hooper for its first president, with J. H. Langstine vice president, Charles E. bullock, secretary, and J. O. Whitman, treasurer.  There was much discussion as to a home for the new organization and for some time the business meetings were held in the Good Templars Hall.  This occupied the second floor of a wooden building which stood on the site of the building soon to be occupied by the Telephone Company.

In June, 1882, no home having been provided for the hose and hook and ladder apparatus, it was housed in a portion of the H. B. Parsons building on Troy Street now occupied by Olen Smith’s grocery store.  About this time “men too old to run with the machine” were asked to become honorary members of the Fire Company to share the expense.

The Independent Hook and Ladder Company ordered new uniforms which they hoped would be delivered in time for the July 4, 1882, parade but for some reason these failed to arrive until early in September.  The uniform consisted of a grey wool shirt elaborately trimmed with red, a fancy belt and two hats, one of grey “constructed on the Navy pattern” (it looked somewhat like a pill box) for fatigue, and a regular fire hat for duty.  Presumably the men wore their usual trousers to complete the outfit.  At this time there was continued opposition to building a fire-house, but the council did insure the apparatus.  The fire alarm was the ringing of the nearest church bell and in the case of a bad fire all bells were rung almost continuously.  It is interesting to note that John Langstine, one of the organizers of Canton’s first Fire Department, later moved to New York and was a member of one of that city’s fire companies for many years.

Page 256.
The Independent Hook and Ladder Company of the Canton Fire Department continued to be an active organization until early in 1886, and then it went to pieces because of lack of encouragement from the Council and citizens and as members personally had to bear the greater part of the expense of maintaining the equipment.  They had acquired a good hand drawn ladder card, ladders, hose, buckets, etc. but no place was provided to store these articles.  Two charter members of this group are still living and citizens of our community, Earl. S. Lindley and A. Watts.

One of Canton’s worst fires broke out about 10:30 A.M.  January 22, 1888 and destroyed all buildings on the south side of Main Street from Kenny’s jewelry store to the brick Odd Fellows block.  Fire was discovered in the post office, a one story wooden building.  The alarm was given by the Presbyterian church bell, and all churches were dismissed so the men could aid in fighting fire.  Though it was the coldest day of the winter – the thermometers reading variously from 14 to 19 degrees below zero – two large hose lines were soon playing on the blaze and it appeared that only the post office would be lost.  However, other buildings caught, and a butcher shop, bakery, dry goods store, furniture and undertaking establishment, barbershop, dental office and doctor’s office soon were destroyed, five barrels of kerosene in Bacon and Ronan’s store helped greatly to spread the conflagration.  The Packard Hotel made coffee for the fire fighters, and the doctors of the town provided other stimulants, but before either could be swallowed, hot coffee or water had to be poured over the men’s hands to melt the visions.  In our routine we met ice with which they were encrusted, so they could hold the cups.  One of the men told of going in the livery stable and removing his coat with some great difficulty, after which it stood stiffly behind the stove for some time until the ice melted.

There being no organized fire department at the time there was no chief to direct operations, so while all fought valiantly, there was much confusion of orders.  When insurance adjusters came to view the loss, the Council was told if Canton had another fire, all large companies would be compelled to withdraw their agencies from the town.  This dictum had two immediate effects.  On February 1, 1888, at a special meeting of the Borough Council it was ordained that no wooden structure could be built in the fire zone, as defined, without permission of the council, and immediate agitation was started for the formation of a new fire department.  This was not accomplished however until January, 1899, when the Canton Fire Company was reorganized and a new hose cart purchased.  They chose the name Innes Hose Company No. 1, honoring the two Innes brothers for their generous contributions and the twenty-nine members elected Mial E. Lilley president, P. J. Ronan vice president, F. H. Sponsler treasurer and W. M. Trippe secretary.  The council had already purchased the old wooden school-house and all hose and apparatus was stored there.

The Fire Department was very active for many years, having an annual donation fair every summer, game suppers followed by dances in the hall and more dances during the winter.  The department consisted of three companies, Innes Hose No. 1, Canton Hose No. 2 and the Independent Hook and Ladder Company No. 3.  Shortly before the turn of the century the present borough building was erected with space provided for all equipment as well as drying racks for the hose.  The spacious rooms on the second floor were allotted the firemen for their meetings and have continued to be used for that purpose ever since.  A fireball was placed in the cupola and became the recognized alarm for fires and was used as a signal for meetings.  A number of years later the whistle on the Electric Light Company plant was used as the alarm, its deep voice waking people more effectively than the bell.  Both telephone exchanges were connected with the plant and the night fireman sounded the alarm when needed.  The steam power was discontinued at the light plant in 1925, and the present siren was bought and installed on the Borough Building during that year at a cost of about $650.00

Page 257 – Postcard

Page 258.
About the time the building was completed, the firemen bought new uniforms and marched in a body at all Memorial Day, Fourth of July or other parades in full dress, including white gloves.  They also attended any deceased member’s funeral as a uniformed group unless the family of the deceased requested otherwise.

Early in 1920 a Brockway auto chemical and hose carrying truck was purchased by the Borough Council for use of the Hose Company.  Chief O. S. Williams and Assistant Chiefs L. F. Root and Galen Williams were appointed to care for and operate the new truck.  This truck was a hard tired affair, and later disposed of.  The Ward LaFrance 600 gallon pumper was bought by the borough about 1931.  This also served to carry hose and had a 300 gallon booster tank.  Some years later, following dissention over the advisability of taking the pumper outside the borough, the firemen purchased a Chevrolet chassis on which a 500 gallon pumper equipped by American LaFrance was mounted.  The Borough paid for the equipment and the firemen for the truck.  Quite recently the Canton Fire Department has bought a Chevrolet panel body truck which they have equipped with a splendid resuscitator, a flood light system and many other necessary items, including an auxiliary pump.  This is arranged so it may also be used as an ambulance, should the necessity arise.  These three units comprise Canton’s fire fighting equipment, together with their hose, etc.  There are about 300 members in the Fire Company, but many of these are former members living elsewhere.

Fire Police were first appointed in 1924 and have been doing splendid work since that time.

Some of the more spectacular fires which the Canton Firemen have helped quell are:  Crawford’s Mill, destroyed in 1895; Hollis Taylor Mill, 1897; the second Minnequa Hotel, 1903; the Sheldon Factory, 1914; the Presbyterian Church; the Canton House; the Baptist Church, 1929; First National Bank Building, 1942; F. P. Case & Sons, 1946; and Robert F. Krise Garage, 1947.

In all their years of service to Canton, no fireman has ever been killed in the line of duty, and few have been seriously injured.

The Belmar Hose Company

The Belmar Hose Company was organized in September 1908, primarily for the protection of the Belmar factory.  It was sponsored by L. M. Marble who bought attractive grey uniforms for the men and provided meeting rooms over the Belmar office for the sixty to eighty members.

The officers chosen for the first year were:  President, William Hopkins; secretary-treasurer, A. P. Hackett; fire chief, John Packard; drill master, Ed Carnegie; and trustee, George Doll.  These were re-elected the following year and Mr. Carnegie continued to serve as drill master for a number of years.  He had a team of twenty four well trained men and these added to local parades.

The company had bought hand drawn carts and later a 60 gallon chemical cart, also had drawn.  The Borough Council helped with the purchase of hose and for several years there was great rivalry between the Fire Companies to see which would arrive first on the scene and which would throw the first stream on the blaze.  The competition became so keen by 1911 that the Innes Hose company decided to ask members belonging to the Belmar Hose to resign from one or the other as it was impractical for the to belong to both.

The Belmar Hose was somewhat less active after this action was taken and finally disbanded in 1914, when most of the younger members were absorbed by the Innes Hose Company which group also acquired their sidewalk chemical truck.

Page 259.
Canton’s First Convention

Canton’s first Firemen’s Convention was the eleventh Annual Convention of the Five County Volunteer Firemen’s Association of Northern Pennsylvania.  It took place August 15 and 16, 1906, and was a very elaborate affair with a parade, baseball game, contests between the visiting companies, including a hood and ladder race, hub and hub race, hose race, and prize drill, for which events a total of $350.00 in prizes was awarded.  At least ten bands marched in the parade, coming from Elmira Heights and Wellsville, N.Y., and Coudersport, Elkland, Galeton, Wellsboro, Troy, Towanda and Athens, and a band contest between Athens and Wellsboro was held in the square that evening.  Since that first convention Canton has played host several times, the last being the Bradford County Convention of 1939.

At a Borough Council meeting held February 5, 1948, it was unanimously agreed to submit to the voters of Canton the question of levying a three mill tax to be used for fire apparatus and hose.  This procedure was in accordance with an act of April 5, 1927, P. L. 114.

On November 10, 1948, a better than two to one decision in favor of the new three mill levy was returned by the borough electorate, and the tax was levied March 10, 1949.

The first funds from the levy were available in August, 1949.  In July 1949, the Innes Hose Co. purchased a new Ford truck at a cost of $9500.00, leasing this truck to the borough at payments of $100.00 per month, to be paid from funds raised by the three mill tax, which is called the Fire Control Fund.

Other purchases made from this fund include such accessories as fire truck courtesy lights, flares, a grille for the truck, rubber rain coats for the firemen and other minor equipment at a total cost of $282.52.  A small quantity of hose was also purchased from the General funds of the Borough which eventually will have to be paid from the Fire Control Fund.

The Innes Hose Co. also has bought needed supplies and auxiliary equipment, including fire extinguishers.

Page 260.
Fires in Canton

Fires are always a menace to any community, and Canton has had more than its shares of serious fires.  The first fire to be recorded was about the year 1800 when the Pennites set fire to Ezra Spalding’s log cabin because he had settled in Canton under a Connecticut grant.  Another early victim to fire was the Red Tavern, which stood on land where Burk’s store now stands.

On January 22, 1888, a fire broke out in the Post Office and burned all the buildings on the south side of Main street from Kenny’s jewelry store to the brick Odd Fellows building.  As often happens, this fire occurred on one of the coldest days of the year, the thermometer reading from 14 to 19 degrees below zero.  Damage was made worse because there was no organized fire department and no chief to direct the operation of fighting the fire.

The prosperity of the first Minnequa Hotel was cut short by the bankruptcy of Peter Herdic early in 1878, and by a fire that destroyed the hotel on November 12, 1878.  This fire was of suspicious origin.  The second Minnequa Hotel was destroyed by fire on May 13, 1903.  This ended Canton’s most prosperous era as a resort town.

Photo Caption – page 260p:
The Ruins of the Second Hotel

Page 261.
The 20th century saw several disastrous fires in Canton, primarily in the business district, but two churches and three industries were also burned.  On February 5, 1923 a fire destroyed the rebuilt Presbyterian Church shortly before it was to be dedicated.  New materials were ordered and the church was soon rebuilt.  The Baptist Church was rebuilt in 1894, burned on November 23, 1929 and was rebuilt in 1930.

Industries having fires include the Hollis Taylor Mill in 1897, the Belmar and Crawford’s Mill.  The fire at the Belmar occurred in 1961 and Crawford Mills in 1962.  The mill was originally built by Hugh Crawford {SRGP 62710} and had a previous fire in 1895 shown in the photograph at left.  The mill was never rebuilt after the second fire..
Photo Caption – page 262p:
Ruins of the Canton House
Photo Caption – page 262p:
Ruins of F. P. Case & Sons Building
Photo Caption – page 263p:
Fire at the Belmar Factory
Page 263p.
The only other industry to be destroyed by fire was the Sheldon factory which burned October 12, 1914. The face of Canton’s business district has changed due to fires more than any other reason, with the south side of Main street receiving the most damage.  The first of these was the 1888 fire, followed by the Lewis Building fire on November 7, 1942.  This destroyed Canton’s finest business building, and destroyed the eastern part of the south side of Main street.

The Bullock Building owned by Mr. and Mrs. Leon Keagle on the western end of Main street was destroyed by fire on January 24, 1970.  This fire occurred as the 1888 fire with similar weather conditions, as the photograph of this fire clearly shows.

Troy Street has had three serious fires.  The first destroyed what was the Canton House.  Burned in this fire were the Esposito Shoe Repair Shop and living quarters above the shop, Stalter’s Restaurant and Bowling Alleys, and the American Restaurant.  F. P. Case and Sons Building Supply burned in 1946 and the Robert Krise Garage in 1947.

2 Photos Caption – page 264p:
Ruins of the Lewis Building - 1942
Photo Caption – page 265p:
Hillside Burning
The Home of Caspar and Mab Weiss
2 Photos Caption – page 266p:
Ruins of the Bullock Block Fire
Page 267
Damage Heavy in Canton Fire – Stores, Apartments Destroyed

Canton – A fire that destroyed a super market and several apartments Saturday night in downtown Canton flared a second time Sunday morning and wrecked two more buildings.  Damage was estimated at more than $300,000.

Fire Chief Thad Hickock of Canton said the fire broke out shortly before 8 p.m. in a second floor apartment over the Acme market at Main and Sullivan Streets.  Firemen believed they had the blaze under control at 10:30 but it flared after midnight and spread from the apartments through a hallway to two adjacent buildings.

The two-story brick structure housing the Acme and apartments was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Leon Keagle, of Canton.  Three of six apartments were occupied and the tenants were forced to flee.  Firemen said none was injured but one of the tenants, Emerson Sullivan, and invalid, was carried from the building by firemen.  Besides Mr. Sullivan and his wife, the apartments were occupied by Harry Watts and James Moyer.

Raymond Mix, manager of the market was unable to estimate the loss until an inventory of the stock could be completed.  He said it would be “considerable.”

Lodge Hall Burns
Two buildings in the path of the flare-up were owned by the Canton Odd Fellows lodge.  One formerly housed the McKenzie Drug Store and the other was occupied by Brann’s Meat Market.  Rooms on the second floor were used as a lodge hall.

A wooden building at the west side of the Keagle structure, used as an Acme warehouse, escaped damage.  Firemen said a brick wall between the wooden structure and the market building prevented the flames from spreading.

Hickok said the stores had closed about 5:30 p.m. for the day.  There was no indication today of what caused the fire but an investigation was under way.

Three Canton firemen were reported hurt fighting the fire.  Edward Werkheiser suffered cuts of a hand and was treated at the scene.  James Rusk was taken to the Troy Community Hospital and treated for cuts of the hand and discharged.  Allen Williams reportedly suffered an injured back when he slipped on ice and fell.  He was listed in fair condition in the hospital.

Ice Covers Firemen
Firemen worked in sub-freezing temperatures and spray from hose lines froze as fast as it hit their raincoats and helmets.  A light breeze swept sparks several blocks away from the fire but no damage was reported.

Canton firemen were assisted by the Troy and Sayre fire departments.  More than 50 volunteers were at the scene and stayed until 6:30 a.m. Sunday.  Hundreds of spectators lined the street Saturday night and early Sunday to watch the fire.  Traffic was reported heavy Sunday afternoon with out-of-town motorists arriving for a look at the ruins.

The Keagle’s said they bought the building about 15 years ago and Acme had occupied it ever since.  They said the loss was covered by insurance.

It was Canton’s biggest fire since 1946 when the Case lumber mill was demolished.

--Williamsport Sun-Gazette – Monday, January 26, 1970

Photo Caption – page 268p:
The Lake Breeze Hotel, which later became a Baptist summer camp, was completely destroyed by fire.  This was the main attraction at Lake Nephawin.  The photograph below shows the ruins of the building with the fire still burning what is left of the building.

Page 269p.
Elmira Star-Gazette – Feb. 9, ‘88
From Gannett, wire and staff reports

Fire Destroys Summer Home

Canton – Fire consumed the former Keagle House on Minnequa Loop Road in Canton Township Monday afternoon.

No injuries occurred as a result of the fire, but one firefighter was taken to Troy Hospital because he slipped on ice, said Crawford Holmes, first assistant chief of the Canton Fire Dept.

The firefighter was reported in stable condition Monday night and was being kept overnight for observation, a hospital spokeswoman said.

No one was living at the house, which was owned by Martin ciskaniak, of Rockville Center, Long Island, who used the residence as a summer home, Holmes said.

The Canton Fire Dept. received an alarm at 12:40 p.m. and brought the blaze under control by around 6 p.m., he said.

The house, which was insured, was destroyed, Holmes said, and no cause has been determined yet.

Canton Landmark Fire Termed Work of Arsonist

Trooper David C. Brubaker, a state police fire marshall, has determined that a fire that destroyed a Canton area landmark, on February 8, was the work of an arsonist.

The dwelling, which is maintained as a seasonal home, was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Martin J. Ciskanik, of Rockville Center, NY.  The loss has been set between $150,000 and $200,000.

The fire marshall said that the structure, which sat at the bottom of a steep driveway, on a knoll overlooking the borough, was known as the “Castle” or the Keagle cottage by many townspeople.

Photo caption – page 269p: - Photo too poor quality to present.
A spectacular fire, on February 8 destroyed a Canton area landmark.  The house owned by the Ciskanik family of New York State was known in the area as “The Castle” and the Keagle Cottage.  The fire was the work of an arsonist.

Photo by Dolores Reedy
--Canton Sentinel – Feb. 18, ‘88

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Published On Tri-Counties Site On 06 November 2008
By Joyce M. Tice
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